NOTE: Article writing rejection. It’s a tough pill to swallow for most freelancers. Learning how to deal with it is so important, we decided to revisit an original post on the topic. Enjoy! —Carol
Are you suffering from article writing rejection?
You know..one day you’re optimistically cranking out query letters and letters of introduction to land article writing assignments.
And the next, you’re rolling around on the floor in a puddle of self-loathing after getting a rejection letter from an editor.
Between angry and pathetic sobs, you shake your fist at the sky and sputter, “Whyyyy?!”
Been there, done that?
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been freelancing a while, getting an article writing rejection is part of the gig. Count on it.
Here’s the thing. Some writers internalize that article writing rejection so deeply, they’re paralyzed to continue.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you understand the five stages of getting an article pitch in front of an editor and how to handle rejection, you can bounce back fast. Here’s how:
5 stages of the article writing pitch
- You get an article idea.
- You write the idea up, in a query letter or letter of introduction.
- You send the pitch letter in, usually via email.
- You wait, frequently in vain, for a response.
- You begin the second-guessing game, and start wondering why your article pitch didn’t get you an assignment.
That fifth stage often sends writers into an emotional tailspin. It’s one of two big problems. Instead of sending more pitches, you sit around thinking:
“I suck at this. I’m never going to make it!”
Instead of sending more pitches, you sit in a pool of misery, thinking bad things about yourself.
- The other big problem is that this self-flagellation exercise wastes way too much of your precious time.
There are only two basic things you need to understand about article writing rejections — and once you know them, it can help you move on to writing that next query more quickly.
The reason you fear article writing rejection
We writers like to obsess about why our ideas were rejected, because we have a deep-seated fear that they aren’t good enough.
After all, there’s so much competition out there. Other writers are more experienced.
You can fill in your personal insecurity complex here. I’ve talked to writers who believe they’ve been rejected because they live in a different country, are too old, too young, you name it.
In other words, you think the reason you were rejected is all about you. And that could be the reason.
But often, it’s not.
The other reason
The more common reason your article pitch is rejected has nothing to do with you.
That reason can be summed up as: stuff going on at the magazine. Stuff like:
- The editor you sent it to just got fired.
- The publication is getting ready to fold or change format.
- They already have something similar assigned.
- They don’t have time to look at queries right now.
- There isn’t any room in the upcoming issue.
- They get a million pitches on this topic and they’re bored of it.
- Your query arrived too late to be considered for that special section (allow 6 months for national mags, folks!).
- Longshot possibility: It got stuck in their spam and they never saw it.
You get the idea. There are a ton of factors that go into article writing assignment decisions, and most of them have nothing to do with you or your skills.
How to cope
The worst thing you can do after you send a pitch out is sit around wondering and second-guessing yourself.
That’s not a freelance writer’s job.
Ours is not to wonder why — ours is to keep learning, and keep on pitching. Theorizing about why you were rejected is a total waste of energy, since in most cases, you’ll never really know. But you can learn from your mistakes:
- Maybe you made some rookie mistakes with your pitch — you didn’t research the publication ahead of time to make sure your tone fits, and that the topic is fresh for their audience and not recently covered.
- Maybe you didn’t even pitch a headline for your story, so the editor was left baffled about the main drift of your idea.
Whenever you can, try to get some feedback about why you’re not getting assignments. If you think your ideas really are weak, or you need to work on your storytelling skills, then learn how to write killer articles.
Bounce back and keep going
But the most important thing to do is not waste time wondering. That’s not getting your writing career anywhere. Instead, focus on learning, improving, and sending more pitches out. Bounce back and keep going. Don’t be a waiter, be a writer, OK?
How do you handle article writing rejection? Leave a comment below, and let’s discuss.